Costco top up: this is $260

Good grief, it’s hot out there.

It’s 5:30pm as I start writing this, and I’ve just got back in from outside.

I’ve got one app telling me it’s 26C/79F out there, another saying it’s 23C/73F. The thermometer in the sun room is reading 30C/86F

The thermometer outside my husband’s south facing window is reading just under 50C/122F.

My feeling is that it’s more like 30C in the shade right now, but I’ve no doubt that anyone sitting in the sun right now would be feeling like it’s closer to that 50C/

We’ve got inconsistent predictions of thunderstorms. I really hope we get on, if only to reduce the humidity!


I headed out late this morning and ran some errands before heading to the city. This included dropping off some extra tomato transplants – one of the Spoon tomatoes was starting to bloom! – and pick up a flat of eggs. The egg lady went to pick the last few to fill the flat but was still short 2, and promised to add extra the next time we get eggs! I will have to go back to pick up the baking tray I used to carry the pots of transplants, anyhow.

Before going to Costco, I met up with my SIL for lunch, and we had a fabulous time. Gosh, I love her so much! My brother really picked a good one. πŸ˜‰ We talked about how things are going here on the farm, of course. They know we’ve been having a hard time keeping up with some things. Especially the lawn. They are thinking of loading their lawnmowers up on their trailer and coming to help out on the weekend. What day will depend on the weather. It would be fabulous if they could make it, just because we enjoy their company so much.

After that, it was off to Costco to get gas – prices there are 149.9 cents/litre for regular right now – then we parted ways.

I had a short list for Costco, but it still came out to $259.66 after taxes.

For that amount, I got four 9kg bags of kibble, at $28.99 each, 4 packages of wraps that I forgot last time, at $9.99 each (they got one bag to themselves), a bag of flour for $9.99, and the baking powder I forgot last time; a 2pk for $8.99. I had spaghetti on my list, but couldn’t find it, so I got a variety pack of pasta for $12.99. Things that weren’t on the list but that we get regularly included the 2pk of lemon juice, for $4.99 and a 2pk of butter chicken sauce for $9.99

There were a couple of things on my list that I did not expect to find at Costco, but find them I did. I picked up a 3pk of WD-40 for $19.99, plus a 30 cent eco fee. I was going to just get one can elsewhere, but decided to spring for this one. The larger cans have different spray options, and the tiny can will be handy to keep in the garage.

I also did not expect to find a new spray nozzle for the hose at Costco. I got a 2 pk set for $19.99 Much like the 2pc set I got last time (which started to break fairly quickly), on has a nozzle with multiple settings, while the other has a nozzle where the spray is kinda like the control on a spry bottle; turn the tip to go from jet to a wide cone, and everything in between.

Of course, once I got home, I had to test it out. At least the multi-setting one.

My first confusion was, how to turn it on. It doesn’t have a squeeze trigger. I could see that there was something to do with the thumb rest, but there was nothing on the packaging about it. At least not in writing. If I’d paid more attention, I’m sure I would have figure it out from the picture. The thumb rest pushes forward and back, which I discovered almost by accident. The feature I like best, though, is that it can turn 360ΒΊ, without having to turn or twist the hose itself. I have high hopes for this set. It cost less than the Walmart set I got last time, but seems to be much stronger in construction.

So this top up is done. I’ll still need to make a Canadian Tire, possibly Walmart, trip but that will be to pick up just a few things, like the litter pellets, an air filter for the lawn mower, and more line for the weed trimmer. I might end up doing that tomorrow, since I’m going to help my mother with errands the day after.

And then, hopefully, I won’t have to go anywhere again for awhile!

The Re-Farmer

Monthly grocery shop: this is what $688 looks like

Well, the Costco shopping trip is over and done with.

Dear Lord, was it busy!

Things did go well, in general. It does make me shake my head when I’m lumbering around with my loaded flat cart, and people with near empty carts seem to think that cutting me off or whatever is a good idea. Like, Dude. I can’t stop on a dime, here. Or trying to make my way down an aisle with pallets of inventory all down the middle, leaving just narrow spaces on either side, and people with small carts seem to think I can steer around them, better than they can steer around me. Annoying.

There’s a reason I like being a hermit.

Still, I did have an excellent exchange. The first things I load up on are the bags of kibble. The 11kg bags were on sale, too, which was bonus! There was an older gentleman that was loading several into his cart when he saw me starting to add several bags to my flat cart (I ended up getting six altogether). He commented on having a lot of cats, and before we knew it we were having a grand conversation! It turns out that he and his wife have been caring for a colony as well, including providing warm shelters and heated water. They’ve currently got 12 indoors, including three kittens. Outdoors, they’ve had as many as 72!! When he found out we were caring for a colony, too, he started asking me questions, and I ended up telling him about using the stove pellets for litter, and about the help we’ve had from the Cat Lady. Turns out, they’re selling their house and moving to an apartment, and have to rehome their cats! He told me about his experiences with rescues and the humane society, which have been pretty touch and go. For the last few months, none of the places he’s left messages with have called him back, and the humane society won’t deal with people outside the city at all anymore, using the mandates restrictions of the past couple of years as their excuse. Some have told him they’re overwhelmed with dogs from the reservations up north, so they’re not accepting any cats at all. I ended up sending his contact information to the Cat Lady, and she recommended a rescue he hadn’t heard of yet. Hopefully, they will be at least more receptive. All in all, it was a great conversation, and he was the sweetest guy. I hope it works out for him and his wife!

Then I had to get back to shopping. *sigh*

This is what $688.62, after taxes, looks like.

That’s only 42 items.

This is one item I did NOT buy.

This wasn’t even the most expensive cut of meat, at $44.99/kg !!!! Good grief!

I got most of what was on my list, dropping a few non-essentials that can wait until next month.

This is what we did get:

Two bags of Basmati rice, in the brand my husband likes, for $17.99 each.
Large jar of regular Hellman’s mayonnaise: $10.99
Canned chicken, 6pk: $18.99
Peanut Butter, 2kg size: $10.49
Pasta, 6pk with 3 different types: $15.99
Goat cheese, 2pk: $10.99
Crimini mushrooms: $4.99
Strawberries: $8.99
Extra strength acetaminophen, Kirkland brand: $10.99
Extra strength ibuprofen, Kirkland brand: $9.99
Bacon, 4pk: $21.99
Polish sausage: $18.99
Whipping cream, two 1L cartons at $4.79 each
Cheese; both Mozzarella and Old Cheddar, at $14.99 each – they still don’t have the big blocks we used to get all the time
Cream cheese, 4pk Kirkland brand: $9.49
Sour cream, Kirkland brand: $5.49
Pork loin: $29.97 (I used to be able to get roughly the same size loin for under $20, not long ago!)
Top sirloin: $31.14 These were the cheap steaks! Four steaks in the package.
Pork chops: $22.64 At least this had a lot of chops in the package for the money!
Ground beef, lean: $29.41 (remember when ground beef was the cheap meat?)
Bathroom tissue: $22.99
Butter, five at $5.49 each. Costco’s butter is about the only butter I can find for under $6 a pound.
Cat food, 11kg bags, six at $29.99 each. Regular price is now $37.99, which is about what a 7kg bag size costs, locally.
Vinegar, box of two 5L jugs, $8.99
Rotisserie chicken, two at $7.99 each
eggs, 60 count, $17.29
wraps, 2 packs of 36 for $9.99 each
Ziploc freezer bags, size medium, 3pk, $17.99

Subtotal: $657.68. I paid $30.94 in taxes.

That was just painful.

But, between the three trips, we are well stocked for the month, plus a bit set aside to top up our stockpile that we always need for the winter months. After this, we’ll still need to make local trips for fresh produce, and of course for getting fresh eggs from the egg lady. We just started our last 18.9L jug of drinking water, so I’ll need to head into town with the two clean and dry ones for refilling. The siphon pump can’t quite get all the water out, so we’ve got a jug with a couple of inches of water still in it to finish off, then set aside to dry out.

One thing about all those bags of kibble; I think this is the heaviest I’ve ever loaded my mother’s car, which had me a bit concerned. I made sure to load the heaviest things more to the middle, and spread the weight out as evenly as I could.

When it comes to my mother’s car, there are a couple of things in particular that has always driven me nuts. One is how noisy it is. There are always things rattling around in the back, and I’ve never been able to find what’s making the noise. The other is that it’s a much lighter vehicle than our van, so it constantly feels like I’m bouncing all over the road, either from bumps on the highway, or gusts of wind.

All that weight in the back, however, sure made a difference! It was the quietest, smoothest ride I’ve ever had with this car! Not a rattle to be heard from the back, and even when I drove through a downpour briefly, that little thing stayed hugging the road. πŸ˜„

I had intended to tank up while at Costco, but the lines were so bad, I took the route to town to tank up, instead. Costco was at 156.9/L today, but in town, the gas station I go to is still 155.9/L Nice!

So all in all, it was a good and productive day. Just very draining, to be around all those people. I’m glad to be home, that’s for sure!

The Re-Farmer

Monthly stocking up: this is what $270 looks like

Okay, it wasn’t my plan for the day, but there’s a particular grocery store we go to that started a case lot sale today. Since I’m planning to go to Costco tomorrow, and don’t want to drive in the city on the weekend, I wouldn’t make the trip until Monday at the earliest, and by then, inventory will be low.

So, I made the trip today. A lot of what I got is to top up our pantry supplies.

This is what $270.84 after taxes looks like. Almost.

Not in the picture, because I already loaded them into the car, is a 12 pack of double roll toilet paper and a case of canned baked beans. The receipt lists the regular price of the sale items, then under the name of the item it prints the sale price or promo, and under the regular price is shows the discounted amount. Which makes for a very long receipt! At the bottom, however, it listed my total savings, which was $90.07

The receipt also printed out in alphabetical order, by brand or item name/description, so that’s more or less the order I’ll be doing below…

I happened to be shopping while they had their “happy hour” flash sale. Today, it was for in house made fresh sausages in the deli, so I went ahead and got 4 each of two different flavours. One of them was Apple Pork, and the other was Tuscan. Their regular price is $3.49 each, so I paid $13.96 for all 8 of them.

It wasn’t on sale, but my daughters like to cook with coconut milk, so I got a 1L resealable carton for them, which was $4.39, instead of the cans we normally get. I got some bananas for $1.88 (they were $1.095/kg). Bernardin snap lids were 10% off, so I got one each of regular, at $4.04 and wide mouth at $4.49 for our supply. We have mostly wide mouth jars, but it’s always good to have extra of both sizes of lids.

I got a boneless pork half loin for $11.22. That was not a sale, but a very good price for a big hunk of meat. I also got a wheel of brie for $8.99, which was more than half price. It was also the last one in the display! The case of 12 bakes beans was on sale for $17.99. Alfredo pasta sauce was on sale, so I got three different flavours for $2.99 each. The 20 pack size of Coke Zero was on sale for $9.49, and for my husband I got four pomegranate flavoured Crystal Light, because that flavour was being cleared out at $2.99 each.

I had a bit of a splurge with a bottle of apple cider vinegar. We still have, but aside from a really cool bottle we can reuse, it was barrel aged. If we like it, it would be good to have some to use as the starter, the next time we make our own crab apple cider vinegar. That and it was only $9.99, which is pretty cheap for good apple cider vinegar.

I got a case of Mandarin oranges, which was on sale for $7.99, and a bag of mixed peppers at $4.99. I picked up a case of Kraft Dinner at $10.99, mostly for the girls. Kraft Dinner isn’t cheap anymore; the regular price was $17.99, and I’ve seen it higher.

There was a deal on ground beef, where all the packages were $7 each, so I got the two heaviest ones I could see. We’re starting to run low on our quarter beef ground beef supply. Although my daughter baked bread yesterday, I still picked up a couple of loaves of rye bread. They weren’t on sale, but at $3.29 each, it’s still a good price. I got more coffee for the girls’ supply, too, even though I just got them some yesterday. $10.99 for the size of container I got is a very good price.

Another pantry item was a couple of cases of Mr. Noodle ramen noodles; one chicken, one a variety pack that was half chicken and 1/4 each of beef and vegetable. They were $7.99 per case instead of $11.89. There were some good prices on a particular locally sourced variety of dinner ham – an actual chunk of meat cut off the bone, not the processed loaf – that was $13.18 for a good big piece.

When first walking into the vestibule of the store, where the shopping carts are, there was a huge display of triple roll toilet paper in 8 packs that were on sale. I was going to get two of them, missing that they were triple rolls, but when I got to the actual toilet paper aisle, I found the 24 packs of double rolls were also on sale. So I got those at $13.89. What was funny is that, as I was loading it onto the belt, the woman ahead of me saw it and suddenly remembered that toilet paper was the reason she’d gone shopping, and she’d forgotten to get it! So she just ran into the vestibule to get a couple of the 8 packs.

I also got a 10lb bag of Russet potatoes. Yes, I did get two 5lb bags of yellow and red potatoes yesterday, but at $4.99, that 10lb bag was cheaper than either of the 5lb bags. I also made sure to get two bottles of the Philippine soy sauce my husband prefers. Not on sale, but still cheap at $4.59 each, and they are quite large bottles. I also picked up some locally sourced smoked applewood slab bacon, for $11.34 I don’t know anywhere else that carries this brand, but they are the same one that made the dinner ham I mentioned earlier. Excellent flavour, and very reasonable prices.

Another one for my lactose intolerance girls was a 4L jug of “soy beverage” I knew they were wanting to try. It was not on sale, and the jug cost $6.39 I did spot a good sale on loose leaf black tea. At $6.99, it was a big, resealable bag at almost half price. Having both tea and coffee in the pantry is always a good thing, because water can get boring, fast! The one frozen thing I got was a couple of bags of Black Tiger prawns, which were 2 for $20. They were normally $16.99 each. Last of all, I got a cold bottle of vitamin water (sugar free) to drink on the way home, which was on sale for $2.25 Normally, I would have gotten an energy drink, but before I did my shopping, I picked up some dim sum for lunch and had a sugar free energy drink to go with it. That’s another thing I love about this store. They have hot food and a dining area, and their dim sum is excellent!

So the sub total before taxes was $265.29. Oddly, $46.32 was GST taxable, while $46.12 was PST taxable. Why the 20 cent difference, I have no idea!

Once I was done loading the car, I did make a quick run into the nearby Dollarama. I didn’t bother taking a picture of what I got there, but I got 4 more of the taller, thicker plant support stakes I found so useful for the apple gourds last year. What I really wanted to get was more of the shorter ones, though, but they only have one size right now. Specifically, I’m looking for ones that are only 2ft long. These are metal rods coated in plastic, and I was wanting to use them to support the hoops we put over the garden beds. We’d been using sticks, but any that fit into the hoops tend to break easily. Anyhow, the ones I got were $3 each. I also got a couple more packages of ground staples, at $1.25 each, so we’re not having to use tent pegs all the time. I also got some plastic coated plant twist ties that are stronger than what I already have, at $1.50, and more label markers for $1.25. One last thing I got was a blue pool noodle, for $2 We’ve been using these as bumpers on the gate, but we’ve lost a couple of the ones that were protecting the hinges. They’re starting to get a bit crunchy as they degrade from the weather, so I might end up replacing all of them. Grand total at Dollarama was $24.36 after taxes.

Since there are other stores along this strip that we like to go to all in one trip, I had originally considered doing more shopping, but by the time I was done, I was DONE, and more than ready to come home. I did take a different route home, though, to hit the town closest to us to get gas, because it’s still 167.9/L regular in the city, while the gas station I go to in town is at 155.9/L It makes a big difference! It might mean I won’t need to get gas while at Costco. I just did a quick check, and found that Costco is at 154.9/L for regular right now, so not enough to make much difference.

The only down side about my running around today is that I’d hope to go to the post office. When I left, they were closed for lunch, so I wouldn’t be able to pick up any parcels, and by the time I got to the gas station, they were already closed for the day. So I will have to make a point of timing when I leave tomorrow to get the mail before I head to Costco.

One thing I know will not be in yet is our live plant order from Veseys. Two transactions went through this morning. I haven’t received the shipping notifications yet, but I expect those to come soon. From the amounts, I think one of them is the mulberry and apple trees. The other thing we’re expecting from them is potatoes, but if it is potatoes, it’s not going to be all three varieties. I’ll see what it turns out to be once the shipping notification comes in.

I look forward to being able to plant those trees in particular!

The Re-Farmer

Stocking up: this is what $282 and $110 looks like

First, the cuteness!

I only saw about a dozen cats this morning. It was quite lovely out there, with little hint of what was to come!

I knew we were supposed to eventually get rain. The high today is supposed to reach 7C/45F. This morning it was already quite windy, so I made sure to tend the smoldering burn ring so the cover lay flat over it. Normally, I set it so the slight gap faces the wind, to encourage the smolder, but this time I made sure it was facing away.

Turns out I didn’t really need to worry about it.

As I write this, we are at 3C/37F, with the wind chill at -1C/30F, and not only is it raining, but snowing, too!

I’m glad I have those carrots I planted yesterday under plastic! The cooler temperature and snow isn’t the problem. Though I covered the seed tape with soil, the wind would probably still have blown some of it away, and whatever didn’t get blown away would have been bashed about by the rain.

Today, my husband’s CPP Disability came in, so I was planning to go to Costco. By the time I headed out, shortly before 11am, the winds had increased to the point that I was thinking I would be changing plans. When I got to the town my mother lives in and gassed up (168.9 cents per liter, there!!!), Costco was off, but I decided to head to the smaller, closer city for the Walmart and Canadian Tire part of our regular shopping. Honestly, though, I seriously considered just getting a few things where I was and heading home. If the price difference wasn’t so dramatically different, I probably would have. Even while parked next to the gas pump, the car got buffeted by wind gusts, and I was facing into the wind!

The route from my mother’s town to the smaller city takes me on a several east/west stretches of road. The wind was coming almost directly from the south, and I was fighting it the whole way. It was better when I was driving into the wind, though the gas gauge sure was dropping faster! I took it slower at times, and wasn’t even getting passed, which is saying something!

Still, I got there safe and sound, and my first stop was at Canadian Tire.

This is what $110.67 looks like.

There were two things I went there for. The stove pellets for cat litter, which were $7.29 each, and another 4 fire bricks, which where also $7.29 each. The plan is to pick up a few fire bricks each month until we have enough for our outdoor kitchen, when we are ready to build it.

The cast iron frying pan was a serendipitous find. For starters, the 10″ size was 80% off! Cast iron anything has become extremely expensive, so getting this for $19.99 was something I did not want to pass up. Even so, I would not have bought it if it weren’t for one other thing: the bottom of the pan is flat. The cast iron pans we have all have a slightly raised ring around the bottom. Which isn’t an issue with a typical electric stove, but we’ve got a glass top stove now. It actually affects how the pan heats up. This one does still have a ring on the bottom, but it is indented, which solves that problem!

It says it’s pre-seasoned, but… we’ll probably season it a few times ourselves, first!

The other thing is that blue metal bar. There used to be a pencil tip bar like that here on the farm – I even remember it from when I was a kid – but it is among the things that disappeared before we moved here. These don’t tend to be in stock very often and, when they are in stock, they’re usually out of budget. This one is a 60″ chisel tip pry bar, which will meet our needs quite nicely. Best of all, it was 40% off, which brought it in budget!

I then made sure I left very quickly, before I found something else to spend money on!

Hardware stores are a very dangerous place for me to be, which money! πŸ˜„

That done, it was off to Walmart. This is what $283.38 looks like.


Part of that total was a donation to the Children’s Hospital, for which I was given a lanyard as a gift, which you can see sitting on the case of wet cat food. That case cost $28.77 The 10kg bags of dry kibble cost $29.97 each. I don’t usually get a 16 pack of facial tissue, but it was on sale at $17.97, instead of something like $23 regular price. There is also a 6pk of double roll paper towels at $18.97; another sale price. One extra, off list, thing that I got was a pair of sweats for myself, at $18. The other was a hanging scratch pad for $4.97. The cats in my room tend to ignore the small scratch post I have for them, in favour of the carpet, so I’m hoping a hanging scratch pad of similar texture will better appeal to them.

For my lactose intolerant daughters, there are two 2L cartons of soy milk at $4.78 each, as well as coffee, at $8.97, though that had a $1 off coupon attached to it. There is a bag of mixed frozen berries at $12.97 and four different cheeses at 2/$10. There’s a 4L jug of 3% milk for $5.88, a large jar of green olives for $8.97, and 4 things of liquid Crystal Light drink mix for my husband, at $3.37 each, which is more than a dollar cheaper than locally. There’s a giant pack of wieners for $5, but there was only one package of hot dog buns left, at $3.37. There’s a 5lb bag of yellow potatoes at $5.97, and a 5lb bag of red potatoes for $4.97. Finally, there are two bottles of distilled water for my husband’s CPAP humidifier, at $1.87 each, and bottle of a Coke Zero for the road at $2.27. Of course, all the bottles and jugs also had their 3 cent enviro fee which, in this province, we don’t get back when we recycle them.

The grand total, before taxes and donation, was actually $256.86 However, I see on the receipt that the quantity sales – the Crystal Light was 2 for $6, and the soy milk was 2 for $8 – got deducted at the end, so that brought the subtotal down to$253.82 before my donation. Taxes totalled $19.56

So this was a smaller – though heavier! – shopping trip than the Costco trip I intended to make. Between the 40 pound bags of pellets and the pry bar that weighed more than one of those 10kg bags of kibble, I wasn’t going to get too much more while using my mother’s car. We’re not using the van until I can get that noise in the engine checked, and we won’t have the budget for that until June.

Still, I was appreciating that weight on the drive home. By the time I finished shopping at Walmart, it had started to rain. Between the extra weight and having the wind at my back, the car was not being buffeted around anywhere near as much. I was still fighting the whole drive home, though, this time with all the rain accumulated on the highways that wasn’t draining off.

I took a different route home. Instead of going back the way I came, I took the highway to the town closer to us, which is a more sheltered route. It also runs through several small towns, so the speed limit is lower for most of it. When I got to town, I topped up the gas tank again – this time at 155.9 cents a litre! – before the final stretch home. I kept the family updated with where I was, every chance I got, and my daughter kept me updated on what the weather radar was showing. The last leg of my trip was driving east, which meant I was getting broadsided by the wind again, as well as the rain. For most of the drive, I was doing 80km in a 100km zone and, once again, no one was passing me! I did my shopping just in time, though. According to the weather radar, after I left the Walmart area they got hit with the brunt of the storm, and I was safely home before the worst of it hit our area.

And in the time it took me to finish writing this, the rain and snow has stopped! From the looks of the trees outside my window, the wind has died down dramatically, too! Even on the live feed from the garage cam, I’m not seeing the trees in the distance moving at all. Not even the tarp on the shed roof near the barn is flapping anymore, and that thing was billowing when I left!

Ah, weather. If you don’t like what you’ve got at the moment, just wait 5 minutes and it’ll change! Especially in April!

The Re-Farmer

Final stock up trip, a generous gift, and planning ahead

Today, my daughter and I headed out for what should be our last big stock up trip of the month.

Well. “Big” is a relative term.

Of course, the morning rounds were done first, and I had company!

The ice these cats are so curious about was melted and muddy by the time we got home.

Also, I counted 24 this morning. When we got back and finished unloading, I topped up their food and water, and The Distinguished Guest was there! I’ve been seeing him more often of late, though yesterday, Shop Towel also showed up and there was quite the cat fight. No new injuries on TDG that we can see. He still looks very rough, but he’s no longer limping. Poor thing. He was so hungry, he almost let me touch him while he was in the kibble house!

My daughter and I left a bit later than we usually would have, as we thought we might have company this morning. The timing didn’t quite work out, so while we were gone, my husband got a quick visit from his sister from another mother, who dropped off some gifts. Including this.

His sister had bought it recently, but then got a really good deal on a Ninja, so she passed the Magic Bullet on to us! That was very thoughtful of her. 😊

My daughter and I had only two places to go to. Our second stop was at Walmart. My daughter had her own shopping to do. I picked up two more 9kg bags of kibble. At $34.97 each, it was a better price than the Canadian Tire. I also picked up some more cheese, since I wasn’t able to get what we usually do at Costco. Some Havarti ($4.44), marble ($4.44) and mozzarella ($7.87). We also got a small ham for the Easter basket ($10.97).

My daughter was shopping for clothes, which reminded me that I needed to get a new pair of jeans. Generally, I don’t like most of the clothes in the women’s department. Especially pants. I find the proportions are off, and they are often made with fabrics that feel really unfortunate. They do sometimes have one specific style of jeans in stock that I find comfortable. Today, there were just a few left in one colour, so there wasn’t a lot of choice, but I snagged them, for $22. That put our grand total at Walmart at $130.70 after taxes, most of which was cat food. We should be good for kibble for the rest of the month.

Our first stop was at Canadian Tire where, along with two bags of hardwood stove pellets (they were out of softwood, which is a bit cheaper) at $7.29 each, we got this.

You can see my new jeans in the corner. πŸ˜„

We were very happy to see they had the Iron Out tablets in stock, so we grabbed two, at $6.79 each. I also found nice large eco-pots that can be buried directly into the ground. I will test them out when I pot up some of our larger squash and gourds and see how they are. I got 8 of them for 79 cents each. They had even larger sizes, which might be useful, depending on how big the Zucca melon and gourds get, before we can transplant them outside. The other varieties will be started over the next few weeks, and should not get quite so large before it’s transplanting time.

We got an extra caulking gun because it was on sale for $8.97, and the one we have now has a lot of roofing tar stuck to it. It’s still useable. We would just prefer not to have to deal with that when we’re adhering and caulking the tub surround (the plumber never called back; I’ll have to contact him again and make sure he has my number!).

Then there are the bricks.

I got four fire bricks at $6.99 each. This put our grand total at $78.96 after taxes.

The fire bricks are something I plan to buy a few at a time, every month, which will be manageable on our budget. They are among the few things we will need to buy new for when we build our outdoor kitchen. The floor of the bread oven will be lined with these, and so will the fire area that will be under an open grill.

My daughter and I spent some time talking about our plans for the outdoor kitchen, including something we should be able to salvage. We still have that old wood cookstove in the old kitchen. It’s broken and we can’t use it. Even if it wasn’t broken, and we didn’t have the insurance issues, I wouldn’t dare use it. This thing is sitting directly on the floor, and there are no heat shields. No one had any of that stuff, back when this was installed. It would simply be too dangerous to use it.

However, we could incorporate the cook top into our building plans.

There are two main things broken on the stove. The hinges on the oven door are snapped. Which, I suppose, only matters if you want to use the oven. The thing that makes it unusable is the damage to the firebox.

You can read about how cleaning this old stove went, here, but this is the damage I discovered after emptying out the ashes. The oven hadn’t been used in many years, but no one bothered to clean out the fire box or ash bin.

That’s cast iron, and the space behind it was jammed solid with ashes, which you can see in the picture. It was really sad to see the results of how badly this old stove was treated.

Also, it’s a wonder we didn’t burn the house down, back when this thing was still being used!

So we’ve got this big cookstove in the old kitchen that can’t be used and is taking up space.

Which means that once we’ve got the shelter built, we can dismantle the cookstove and set it up again in the shelter. As long as it’s protected from the weather, and not sitting directly on the ground, it should be fine. Then we can look at incorporating pieces of it into the cooking area we will be building, and it would give my daughter the set up for a wok that she was thinking of, though the openings might be a bit small for what she has in mind. That’s okay. We will have plenty of time to modify our design ideas before we actually start building. The main thing is to get the shelter built, first.

Once we get that out of the old kitchen, we’ll have more space freed up. The chimney will still be there, though, so in the future, we can get a smaller cookstove and set it up with all the proper heat shields and floor protection in place.

After fixing that room up. The floor condition in particular is … fascinating.

All in good time.

Until then, we can do things like slowly accumulate the materials we will need, like the fire bricks I bought today.

On top of the expenditures listed there was, of course, the cost of gas. We were at half a tank on my mother’s car when we left. We stopped at the town my mother lives in to get gas, where we found the new carbon tax brought the price up another 4 cents per litre (we now pay 14 cents per litre in carbon taxes altogether), bringing it to 156.9 cents/L. Because of road dust getting into things, the gas pump nozzle keeps shutting itself off, as if the tank were full, so I never know how close to full I really am. I just put in a little over $20, which at least got me above 3/4 of a tank.

On the way home, we took a different route and stopped at the town we do most of our local shopping. My daughter had an errand to run, and I decided to try a particular gas station on the way home. This place had been closed for a while, but when the reopened, their prices were much lower. I figured, even with the price increase, they might still be the best price. Their sign read 151.9 cents/L, which was better than the old price in other stations – but when I put gas in, I noticed the pump was reading 145.9 cents/L! I put in $25 and actually filled the tank!

Okay, my mother’s car has a small tank and has terrible mileage, but I’ll take what good I can find!

I think I’ve found where I’m going to be buying gas regularly, as much as possible, now!

So that’s been our rather expensive day. Other than things like fresh produce we buy locally, we should be good for the rest of the month!

The Re-Farmer

This is $530; Costco shopping done

I had intended to do the Canadian Tire and Walmart trip next, but we were running out of too many things that we get at Costco, so I did that today, instead.

After my morning rounds, of course.

We are at 0C/32F as I write this, and it is quite gorgeous outside. I counted 23 cats this morning. They are spending far less time in the sun room with the warmer temperatures. I don’t know what they are doing, but so many of them are showing up with burrs stuck all over their fur! At least Pointy Baby (in the front) will let me pull them out of his fur with remarkable patience, but even he has his limits!

There is a rather interesting problem we have found that we get pretty much every spring. As the snow melts, a moat forms around the garage. At this point, there’s still a lot of snow, so no moat – but the path through the snow to the garage cuts through part of the low spot. Which means that any snow that melts pools in this one spot along the path. In the morning, it’s frozen, rough and very slippery. By afternoon, it’s melted and getting deep. There’s no way around it, since the water extends below the snow, too.

Thankfully, my boots are pretty waterproof, but when we have heavy loads in the wagon to bring to the house, the wheels sink into the water thawed inch or so of mud at the top, which makes it even rougher once it freezers overnight again. We really need to lay a whole lot of gravel down in this area!

Especially when we have loads like this to drag through it.

This is actually a small Costco shopping trip for us, but we do have four 11.6kg (about 25 pounds) bags of kibble, plus a case of 48 cans of wet cat food, weighing it down.

I didn’t want to do too large of a trip, since I was using my mother’s car, but it was sort of a moot point, anyhow. This came out to $530.28 ($27.59 of that was taxes). That’s quite a hit on the budget. Yes, it’s a monthly stock up trip, but we still need to keep part of the budget for buying fresh produce locally throughout the month. And we still need to do the Canadian Tire and Walmart trip. Not that we have a lot to get there (the main thing is to restock our stove pellet litter supply, which is inexpensive), but I also did a local shopping trip last night that ended up costing just over $200 – half of which got “reimbursed” by my husband, who asked me to pick some stuff up for him that we don’t normally get, but still. Ouch.

So what did I get for $500?

The four bags of kibble cost $37.99 each. They’ve gone up in price again, I think. Still better than elsewhere!
Canned cat food, case of 48: $38.99
Toilet paper: $22.99

Butter, 5 pounds at $4.89 each – the price has actually gone down!
Canned chicken for the pantry: $17.99 – I think that has gone down slightly, too
Peanut butter, 2kg size: $8.89
Nutella, 2pk: $13.69 We almost never buy Nutella, but my daughter has a recipe she wants to try with it, and it’s cheaper to buy it at Costco
Iced Tea mix: $7.99 sale price ($2 off)
Regular mayonnaise: $10.69
Kirkland cream cheese, 4pk: $9.49
Crimini mushrooms: $4.99 – the white button mushrooms are now the same price as the crimini, so there’s no reason not to get the tastier ones!
Strawberry jam: $9.99 – there were similar sized jars of slightly cheaper jam, but this brand comes in jars we like to reuse for other things
Fresh blackberries, 2 clamshells: $4.99 each – which is a really good price for blackberries in packs this size!
Basmati rice: $12.99 – not the brand we usually get, but they didn’t have what we normally get. I hope it’s good. The last time we tried a different brand, it was awful.
Goat cheese, 2pk: $10.69
Farmer sausages: $9.99
Pork Loin: $26.35 Even the pork is starting to get expensive. They’re sold by weight, which makes it easy to choose a smaller one by looking at the price. Getting the smallest one used to put the price at or near $20. Not anymore!
Tilapia fillets: $21.85 There was actually quite a lot of fillets in the package for that price. My daughters will get a few meals out of that.
Ground pork chub: $19.99
Lean ground beef chub: $32.78 sale price ($8 off) This thing was quite large. I haven’t seen ground beef sold this way at Costco for many years.
Rotisserie chicken: 2 at $7.99 each These are still cheaper than buying whole, uncooked chicken.
Tortillas: 2 packages at $9.99 each

And that’s it. I didn’t get any of the giant blocks of cheese we normally get at Costco because they didn’t have any in stock. There’s other stuff I might have picked up normally, but couldn’t justify the expense. There are getting to be too many months where I see things and think, “oh, we’re getting low on that, I could pick some up…” only to not do it because of the price. Things like garbage bags, freezer bags of different sizes, facial tissue, etc. Instead, we end up getting smaller sized packages elsewhere, or skipping it for another month.

Unfortunately, I don’t see that situation improving any time soon.

But, we have what we need.

Once at home, I took the pork lion and split it into three pieces to freeze individually. The ground beef got divided up into four large Ziplock freezer bags, while the ground pork got split into four medium Ziplock bags. With what we still have left from our beef freezer packs and our recent Superstore trip, our chest freezer and fridge freezer are both quite full.

We’re still good, for which I am grateful. There are many who aren’t.

The Re-Farmer

Stair cats, and this is $424 (plus $155)

I spotted this adorable sight, just as I was finishing up my morning rounds.

The cats are taking advantage of every snow-free space they can find!

This morning, my daughter and I headed out fairly early to do the first of our stock up shopping trips in the city for next month. We are using my mother’s car, as we are avoiding using the van as much as possible now that things are warming up, which means smaller trips.

Smaller in size, but not in cost!

Our first stop was at an international grocery store, where we also had dim sum for breakfast (which I was able to do and still stick to my Lenten fast of no sugar or starchy foods).

I completely forgot to get a picture of our first purchases, but this is what we got:

2lb bag of Mandarin oranges: on sale for $6.99
Avocados; bag of 4: on sale for $3.49
Bananas: $1.095/kg got us a bunch at $1.88
Caramelized onion goat cheese: $8.99
Triple creme brie for our Easter basket: on sale for $11.99
Gouda cheese, truffle (a real treat!!!): $9.61
Blue cheese stuff olives for our Easter basket: $7.99
4pk quantity sale: 2 of ground chicken, 2 of stir fry beef, $20 (saving us $4 total)
Ketchup: sale price $4.49
Bell pepper variety pack: on sale for $5.99
Coffee creamer for my daughters: on sale for $4.49
Two 5lb bags of Russets: sale price $3.99 each
Bacon slab: smoked applewood $10.43
Bacon slab: smoked $10.25
House brand sliced bacon, 2 packages: sale price $3.89 each
Two 2L soy milk for my lactose intolerant daughters: $4.69 each
Dark soy sauce for my husband (the Filipino brand we usually get was out of stock, so this is a new one for him to try): sale price $3.49

Non Food:
Extra strength carpet odour eliminating powder: $4.79
Febreeze (for upstairs): loyalty card 20% off for $5.29
Non-bleach, pet safe spray cleaners, 2 bottles: $4.99 each

The sale prices (with our loyalty card discount) saved us $23.75, for a grand total of $155.62 after taxes.

All of that, except for the potatoes, fit into two of our hard sided grocery bags, with room to spare.

Our next stop was Superstore.

This is $424.02, plus a free turkey for purchasing more than $300


Non food:
Dry cat food, two 10kg bags: $32.99 each
Paper towels, 12pk: $11.99
Toilet paper, 24pk double rolls: $19.99
Replacement mop head: $6.99
Polysporin, extra strength + pain killer: $11.49
Gauze for the first aid kit: $6.79
Insoles, for my daughter: $17.49
Insoles, for me: $17.99
Deodorant: $4.99
Argan oil (hair treatment): $.68
Feminine liners: $13.99
Hair elastics: $5.00
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth: $6.49
Large bottles of shampoo and conditioner: $15.99 each (we finally found the kind we’ve been looking for!)

Soy sauce – they had the brand my husband likes! (he’s basically the only one who eats soy sauce): $2.99
Tapioca pearls (for my mother): $1.49
Giant block of Old Cheddar: $32.49
Whipping cream: sale price $5.69
Frozen chicken nuggets (something I asked my daughter to pick for a quick treat): $10
Frozen pizza bites (another quick treat): $10
Giant pack of hot dog wieners: $9.99
Frozen pork lion: $19.71
Frozen shrimp: $16.99
Sourdough loaf: two at $3.00 each
French bread: two at $0.95 each
Torpedo buns: 1 large bag at $5.00
Rye bread: two loaves at $4.79 each
Hot dog buns: two at $4.29 each (most of the bread went straight to the freezer)
Goat cheese: $7.99
Sandwich meat: smoked turkey and Montreal smoked meat, at $6 each
Figs and Port salami for the Easter basket: $9

Butterball turkey: free

I didn’t realize until now that the cashier didn’t ask me for my points card, and we were so busy loading the cart, I forgot I had one, which means I didn’t get my 4420 points. I’ll have to hang on to the receipt and claim those, because I can actually get cash off my groceries with them. We’ll be back in the city in a few days, so I should be able to take care of that.

Our next trip to the city will likely be a Walmart and Canadian Tire trip. I only got 2 bags of cat food, which won’t last long, but I didn’t want to overload my mother’s car. We’ll need at least 8 big bags, total (unfortunately, the cats don’t want to eat the larger bags of cheap stuff from the feed store) for the month. More, if I can only find the 9kg or less sized bags in stock. We also need to get more stove pellets for the litter boxes. Those come in 40 pound bags, but I think if I spread them out in the back of the car, it should be okay to get a couple of those, plus a couple of bags of cat food at the same time.

The price of beef is absolutely insane. I was looking to order another freezer pack from our local ranch supplier anyways. I’d hoped to find some good sales to supplement but, nope. The “sale” prices are still too rich for our budget! The only beef I got today were the stir fry beef that were part of a sale in the first store we went to.

On top of all this, I put $25 gas in the tank, which almost filled it, and by the time we got home, the fuel gauge was lower than when we filled!

On the way home, I asked my daughter about what she hoped to do here at the farm; things to build, fix, grow, whatever. She is very interested in having to buy as little as possible which, in the future, would include things like making shoes and weaving cloth. She wants fiber animals (goats or alpaca), but would also like to grow flax to make linen. For the space we would have available to grow flax, it would take a few years of accumulating the fibers, but then, it’ll take a few years to buy or build a spinning wheel and loom (her drop spindle won’t quite cut it!). I also have some heritage wheat seeds that I want to grow, just to collect more seeds, for future use. We would be converting parts of the outer yard into small fields for stuff like this – which requires significant clean up, first!

As for leather, once we get to the point of hunting deer, she would be interested in tanning the hides. My husband has been doing some leatherworking and has lots of tools, but the leather itself is so expensive, he hasn’t been doing anywhere near as much as he would like.

We also talked about building more smaller sheds. Most of the outbuildings here are falling apart. We’ve got way too many things crammed into one side of the garage, and that space would make a great workshop. Plus, the garage itself needs a lot of repairs. If we have someplace else to safely store this stuff, that’ll make it easier to do the repairs it needs. Right now, the only space we could use is the barn, and it’s already got so much stuff in it, much of which is probably junk, simply because of how long it’s been sitting there. Plus, the barn isn’t exactly in good shape, either. I certainly would never use it for animals again, without a lot more repairs than we are able to do ourselves.

We also talked about fixing the pump shack; the concrete floor is breaking up and the wooden walls are rotting away, but the frame is still sound, and it has a solid metal roof. It’s also possible that the only thing we need to get the old well going again is to replace the leathers in the pump. After all this time, they would need to be replaced anyhow. We just have to find out what size we need and find where to get them from. If it still doesn’t work right after that, then we would call a well company.

Of course, we want to grow as much food as possible. With the way things are going, food prices are not going to be going down again for a long time, if at all. The value of our dollar is dropping too much.

Once the snow is gone enough, the first thing we need to do for this year’s garden is start building the trellis tunnels. My plan had been to bury the vertical posts in the ground, which would still be mostly frozen. However, now that we know that that area can get flooded out, we would need to have at least low, probably mid height, raised beds at the base of the trellis tunnels, we might not need to. The vertical posts can be part of the walls of the raised beds. The tunnel part would be 4 ft wide (for accessibility reasons, all our paths will be 4 ft wide), but we would not be able to reach the beds from the inside of the tunnel once the climbing mesh is in place, so the beds would be only 2 ft wide. Once the walls, mesh and soil is all in place, we won’t need to worry about the vertical posts getting blown over. We will also be making portable trellises, but they are not as high of a priority, since they can be built much more quickly.

Then there is my priority to have a chicken coop. Our homesteading neighbor that has a shed he needs to get rid of promised to bring it over to us in the spring, once the snow is clear. We need to figure out where, exactly, to put it. It then needs a floor and a modification to the roof to make it into an angled shed roof, rather than a flat roof (which started leaking and is why it needs a new floor). Heck, as long as we have the floor, we can throw a tarp over the roof to start with. As for nesting boxes, I think we actually have some in the barn, and it wouldn’t take much to make roosts.

This would do to start with. I also want to get that antique wagon frame from the car graveyard and see if it’s salvageable to make a chicken wagon. For the amount of eggs we go through, having chickens will be a huge help with the food bill. Eventually, I’d like to have a couple of pigs; both chickens and pigs can be a huge help in clearing and reclaiming land so it can be used to grow food. Plus, of course, we will have manure for fertilizer. The fiber goats my daughter wants to get would be helpful with that, too, but I think that’s for a bit further in the future. Plus, we would get a couple of piglets in the spring and they would be butchered in the fall, so that makes them a priority over goats. Unless we get a milk goat, first. Then my daughters wouldn’t have to buy soy milk.

The main thing is, the more we can grow ourselves, the easier it will be on the budget, and the more food security we will have.

After spending more then $550 today (though we did spend more than usual on non-food items), and not having anywhere near what we need for a month’s stocking up, this isn’t even a matter of choice anymore.

The Re-Farmer

Costco haul: this is $692

Oh, my goodness, what a day! Costco was so very busy.

I got just about everything on my list (I could not find dryer sheets anywhere!), plus a few additions I’d forgotten to include on my list.

This is what $692.38, after taxes, looks like.

What’s funny is what happened after I took this picture and started the van – which did NOT want to start when I left for the city, so I wanted to make sure it was running. While taking the picture, I saw a notification for a message from my SIL, who has been out of province for some time. I was going to load up the van, then read and answer the message after I was done.

As I was opening up the back and getting my bags handy, I heard my name.

It was my SIL!

I had no idea she was back! She had messaged me earlier to say she was also going to the Costco – which means we were shopping at the same time and missed each other – then again to let me know she was leaving. Pure chance that she drove past where I was parked! So she pulled into the parking spot nose to nose with my van, helped me load the groceries, then we sat and chatted for a good while.

It was so fantastic to see her! She’d actually been back for a little while, but she and my brother have been terribly sick with colds for the past week, which is why I hadn’t been hearing much from either of them.

I love her so much, and I’m so happy she’s back!


Today’s Costco haul, as usual, included wet and dry cat food. I’ve got a bead on a farm supply store that I’m told I should be able to get large bags of kibble at a really good price, but I’m going to have to make a special trip to check it out. It’s just not working out to find the place while also doing other errands. Until then, I got four 9kg bags of the Kirkland kibble. They did have the brand name 11kg bags but, at $28.99 each, the Kirkland was a better price per kg. I also got their big case of canned cat food (42 cans, I think?) for $38.99

Also among the non-food items was the Kirkland toilet paper – their double roll TP is noticeably bigger than other brands – for $22.99.

One of the “treat” items I got was something new for us to try; a 24 pack of Bubly sparkling water in three flavours. I wanted something not-Coke Zero for a change. They are zero sugar, so I can drink them during my Lenten fast from sugar and high sugar/starchy foods. We haven’t found a sparkling water we actually like yet, but we’ll see how these are.

I did get two flats of eggs for $17.95 (yes, I’m still going to be buying flats of eggs from our egg lady! – we eat a LOT of eggs). While I was walking through Costco with them on my flat cart, a Native guy walking past me saw them and stopped to ask where he could find them. I told him, and he said that the same pack of 60 eggs costs $30 where he lives!! Prices at the northern reserves have always been insane, but yikes!

One of the things I got for the girls was a case of Kraft Dinner; Costco has larger cases than at the grocery store, while their $14.99 price would be a sale price for the usual 12 packs I find!

I got two packs of flour tortilla wraps at $9.99 each, as well as a two loaf package of rye bread at $5.99 – I’d be lucky to get one loaf at that price, locally.

I didn’t get much meat; we still have quite a bit in the freezer, plus I’ll soon be ordering a freezer BBQ pack of beef that includes two types of sausages, from where we get our annual quarter beef. I got a small pork blade at $19.83, some pickerel filets for the girls at $23.69 (only 3 filets, and they were the cheapest fish I could find!), a couple of hot rotisserie chickens at $7.99 each, a 3 pack of bacon for $21.99 and 6 pack of canned chicken for $18.49.

In dairy, I got 5 pounds of butter at $5.49 each AND!!!! they had ghee in stock! I got the big bucket for $39.99. They didn’t have the giant blocks of cheese, so I got smaller blocks of marble cheese, which was on sale for $11.99, and mozza at $14.99. There’s also a larger tub of sour cream at $5.49 and a 4 pk of Kirkland cream cheese at $9.49, plus a 2 pk of goat cheese at $10.69

I also got a 2kg size jar of peanut butter at $8.80, and two big jars of Hellman’s mayonnaise, which was on sale for $8.49 each. There’s avocado oil at $17.49 – a much better price, and a much bigger bottle, then anywhere else! – a 2 pk of butter chicken sauce at $9.99, a 2 pk of lemon juice at $4.99, and a jar of Saskatoon jam for my husband, at $7.39.

I don’t usually get much, if any, fresh produce at Costco, but this time I did get a container of mini portabella mushrooms for $4.99 – they where the same price as the buttons, when usually the buttons are at least a dollar cheaper for the same size container – and a bag of avocados at $7.99

I braved the pharmacy section this time and finally restocked myself on B12 ($21.99), Vitamin D3 (on sale for $8.99) and Zinc ($12.99).

Among the more “treat” things was a big bag of Kirkland chocolate chips at $16.99 – those have certainly gone up in price, but the bag usually lasts us several months – and 1 container of popcorn in the big plastic jugs that we always keep because they are so very useful. Those are now $10.89. There’s also a container of iced tea mix at $9.99. Usually that’s for my husband and I but, since I’m off sugar for 40 days, it’s just for my husband. The girls don’t care for it. For the girls I got a giant bag of Munchies Mix at $9.49 (it will easily last them the month) and for my husband and I, a couple of containers of pork rinds at $10.89. For me, they will be a sort of bread/cracker substitute during my fast. These are also containers that we keep, as they are a great size to turn into cloche covers over larger transplants, like squash, in the garden.

And there we have it. Almost $700 at Costco.

After I’ve spent the necessary 24 hours monitoring my mother after her scope is done, we’ll have to make probably two more trips to the city. We’ll need a Walmart trip, for sure, and the girls want to hit the International grocery store with their own shopping list. We will also need to finally do that Home Depot trip to get what we need to build the cat barrier to the living room, which we won’t be able to do with my mother’s car. We will need the van. Since I came home to a tire going flat, it will have to wait until we get that fixed or, pleasepleaseplease, our mechanic finds us an affordable replacement vehicle that the financing company will accept!

I think the most difficult part of all this fussing with the van and trying to get a replacement so much earlier than we’d thought we would, is being up in the air all the time, never quite sure what we can do next.

Ah, well. It’ll work out in the end.

I’m just glad we got this trip in, and I won’t have to do another one for a while, yet!

The Re-Farmer

Pretty Poser, and this is $171

We had another lovely day today! Nice and sunny, with a high of -9C/16F, and almost no wind chill at all. The cats are quite loving it, romping around in the sun and the snow.

I had the hardest time getting this picture of Pointy Baby! He kept trying to reach out to me, or my phone. I managed to catch a shot during one split second he gave me a pretty pose! I counted 24 cats outside this morning.

With my last trip to the city, where were very few things on my list that I didn’t get, and I wasn’t intending to make another trip so soon. However, I’m going to be helping my mother with errands tomorrow, and I don’t want to shop on the weekend, so I figured I’d better head out today, before some things start running too low. I went to the closer Walmart, with the possible extra trip to Canadian Tire to get more stove pellet litter. I ended up not needing the extra trip.

This is $171.11

They had hardwood pellets in stock this time, and the price has actually gone down! They were $5 each. At Canadian Tire, the hardwood pellets have gone up in price from $6.99 to almost $8, while their softwood pellets stayed the same price. The Walmart price had been comparable to the Canadian Tire price, but I’d only ever seen softwood pellets. These hardwood pellets are the same brand that Canadian Tire carries. So I got two, and I would have gotten two more, if I weren’t also getting kibble.

Their inventory of large kibble bags was low again, except for the super cheap no-name brand, which come in 7kg/15lb bags. There were no 11kg/24lb bags, so I picked up a couple of 9kg/20lb bags, plus their largest size case of canned cat food. They all cost just under $30 each.

I wasn’t able to find the usual shampoo and conditioner we use, in the big bottles with pumps. I haven’t seen those in quite a while, so I got smaller bottles of the same brand – two types with different oils in them – to try. They were on sale, at under $5 each.

The only thing on my list that was groceries was the icing sugar, but I also grabbed some red rooibos tea. My husband requested nacho fixings, so I got the giant jar of olives (which was cheaper than at the wholesale place!) and no-name brand tortilla chips. I got a couple of loaves of rye bread. I saw some bakery cookies for sale and got some salted caramel chip cookies as a treat, plus a variety pack of gum to keep in the van. One last extra was a couple of packages of biodegradable pots. All of these were between $3 and $5.

They didn’t have the larger size pots that I would prefer to use for certain seeds, but these ones will do for others. Eventually, when we’re planting seeds that aren’t as much of an issue for size or potting up, we’ll just use the red solo cups we have so much of. I expect we’ll need at least a couple more bags of seed starting mix, but not for quite a while.

Everything except the big bags and the canned cat food fit into just one of my hard sided grocery bags.

With this done, anything else we need for the month can be picked up locally, as needed. We will be making one more trip to the city, though, to get the materials we need to build a cat barrier to the living room. This is a project the girls are planning out and paying for, so they get to tell me when that’s going to happen! πŸ˜„

After the shopping was unloaded, we loaded the van up again for a trip to the dump and I headed out again. That’s a quick trip, at least.

Then, more running around tomorrow, this time with my mother’s car. After that, I should be able to play hermit again for a little while! πŸ˜„

The Re-Farmer

Second stocking up trip: this is what $350 looks like

Well, I’m back from the city, with a mostly successful shopping trip to the Wholesale Club. I didn’t quite get everything on my list, while also getting a few things not specifically on my list, but that I either keep an eye our for, or get only while at this store.

The grand total, after taxes, was $350.17

I like that their receipt organizes everything by category, rather than the order they were scanned in.

Under “grocery”, I got a package of heavy duty scouring pads, having taken out the last one from our supply recently. We were also low on parchment paper, so I got a cheap no-name brand, as well as a package of paper towels.

There’s a 10kg (22lb) bag of white sugar. Icing sugar was on my list, too, but I didn’t find any. A bottle of lemon juice, a big thing of iced tea mix, and giant bags of Fusillli and Farfalle pasta.

In dairy, there’s a tub of sour cream, a big block of Old cheddar (more expensive than Costco, except they didn’t have any in that size at all), and a couple of pounds of butter. The no-name butter was $5.99 each, but the whipping cream was $4.89 each, so I got two of those and will be making more butter myself.

I got 4 big bags of pierogi in two flavours; the no-name brand, at $4.99 each, was about a third the price of the name brand variety in comparable sized bags. There’s also a gallon of vanilla ice cream my husband requested.

There’s a 2L of soy milk for my daughters in the “natural foods” category. They are lactose intolerant, and the soy milk is cheaper than lactose free real milk. That’s the main reason I want a milk goat!

Under “produce” there’s a bag of “imperfect” avocados, and Medjool dates.

Those dates are quite addictive! Excellent stuffed with a bit of goat cheese. Better still stuffed with a mixture of goat cheese and crushed nuts, rolled in salt and pan fried with honey – something we did when the girls were younger and we were recreating recipes from ancient Rome. Sublime!

Under meats, I splurged a bit. Oddly, the $10 bag of frozen vegetable samosas is listed under meats! I got a giant package of wieners (and buns) so we can have a cookout if we want. We still have meat in the freezer, but I wasn’t going to say no to the excellent price for pork butt. There was a lot of meat for just under $30. Unlike their chickens, where a three pack of small birds was almost $40! As a treat, I got one of their $20 boxes of chicken balls. I also got their $10 pack of sole filets for the girls, who like their seafood.

Under deli, we got a giant beating stick of summer sausage, Lyoner sausage and salami. I was planning to only get the big summer sausage, but these are handy for those days when we don’t have the energy for cooking. Plus, I want to experiment with something.

Last of all, I got a jug of windshield washer fluid, rated to -45C/-49F. With how warm it was today, I quickly ran out and pretty much emptied the jug I had in the van when I refilled the reservoir. I always try to keep a full jug in our van, and my mother’s car, just for times like this!

One thing I did not find was the bucket of Ghee. When I didn’t find it at Costco, I was sure I had to have found it here. I ended up asking an employee and as far as he knew, they never carried the bucket size! All they had were smallish tins. Maybe Costco was just out of stock? I do hope they get more, because buying it in that bucket size is SO much more affordable.

I went through the restaurant section and there were a few things that I’m eye balling for the future; especially for when we’re cooking outdoors more often. I also went through the pet food section, and there were none of the large bags of dry kibble I try to get. Not that I would have bought any. There’s no savings on kibble by buying it there.

I did decide to make one other stop before doing this shopping, checking out a liquidation store. We don’t go there often, but there’s something my daughter is wanting that I thought they might have. They didn’t, but while there, I did get a dozen packages of vegetable bouillon cubes at 4 for $1, or 29 cents each, restocking our supply from the last time I got a whole bunch of these! There wasn’t much else; mostly cheap Valentine’s day treats, though I did get a chisel tip paint brush that was on the list my daughters have for painting the basement. A long handled one would have been preferable, but no place I’ve looked seems to have them. Which is fine. We can always extend the handle ourselves, if necessary.

My younger daughter helped me bring everything to the house, and the poor thing really struggled with the heavier bags. She’s been working on the basement all day, so her back is killing her. I’ll have to make a point of hobbling down the stairs and see how it’s going, later on.

Speaking of hobbling…

The new medications my doctor is trying me on for my arthritis are… a thing. There is definite improvement in joint pain and reduced inflammation. The problem is, I seem to have just traded one pain for another. These medications are prescribed in tandem, with one of them pretty much there to protect the stomach from the other.

It’s not working very well.

Usually, it’s just a feeling of bloating, without the gas, but while driving and walking around today, it got really bad. At one point, as I was walking into the Wholesale Club, I suddenly wondered if I was going to throw up! I wasn’t feeling nauseous. It felt more like I really needed to burp, but was afraid to because it might be accompanied by something – and my stomach would have been pretty empty by then! According to the papers that came with the meds, side effects should subside within 2 weeks, and I only got 2 weeks of the medication. If this keeps up, I’m not going to request the prescription be continued, but will drop them completely. I’d rather deal with the pain from the OA than this abdominal pain and… insecurity, shall we say!

More motivation for me to try going carnivore, but if I do that now, we’ll go through the meat in our freezer way too quickly, and that’s supposed to be for all four of us, not just me! Very frustrating. But I can still work towards it.

Juggling what we can afford for the household can really conflict with what we’d like to do! Meanwhile, with the prices continuing to increase, we’re going to have to rely on food we grow ourselves a lot more, and that’s going to require more preparation if we’re going to start raising animals, too.

Ah, well. Self sufficiency was our goal from the beginning. I just hoped we’d have more time and resources to accomplish it!

The Re-Farmer